Cherkley: now the Forty Acre Field is at risk!

It is now just over four weeks since the Judicial Review and we still await the judge’s decision.  Meanwhile many of us have looked on in dismay as the North Field beside Reigate Road (B2033) has been turned into a bleak area of brown and white. No wonder that developers have eagerly been eyeing up the Green Field sites in south Leatherhead!

Now I understand that the Forty Acre Field is at risk. It seems that Longshot cannot wait for the decision of the Judicial Review and will exploit all loop-holes in the current Interim Injunction and that archaeological investigations will be resuming.

The Forty Acre Field is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan [BAP] Habitat and it supports animals that are themselves BAP species and for some invertebrates, their food plants, e.g. grass snakes. Roman snails are also protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

I am told also that the Forty Acre Field also qualifies as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance according to the County Ecologist.

Despite all this, it seems there is little actual protection for the living animals and plants and their habitat, only a watching brief for archaeology. Why? Why are potentially damaging archaeological investigations allowed to proceed at the cost of the wild habitat, especially as we are still waiting for the outcome of the judicial review?

Is there really such pressure from the multi-millionnaire golfers for whom the course is being designed? Can Longshot really not wait till the outcome of the Judicial Review is known?

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